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Keywords:

  • Instant Messaging Systems

Social media have transformed social interactions and now look set to transform workplace communications. In this exploratory study, we investigate how employees use and get value from a variety of social networking technologies. The context of this research is 4 software firms located in China. Notwithstanding differences in corporate attitudes toward social networking, we identify common themes in the way Web 2.0 technologies are leveraged as value is created by employees at all levels. We draw on the communication ecology framework to analyze the application of various technologies. We inductively develop 5 propositions that describe how social networking technologies contribute directly to horizontal and vertical communication in organizations, and ultimately to individual, team, and organizational performance. Implications for research and practice are discussed.